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Southern Wedding Traditions for Any Wedding, Anywhere

If you’ve ever seen Steel Magnolias, you know all about 'blush and bashful' and might even think you know all about Southern wedding traditions based on the famous early scenes from this ultimate chick flick.  While Julia Roberts gave an excellent portrayal of a blushing bride, there’s still A LOT of the South and its weddings that didn’t make their way onto the set.

Whether you have an ounce of Dixie in your blood or you simply daydream about being a modern-day Scarlett O’Hara, here are a few ideas to bring a little of the South into your special day.

Feature a groom’s cake

Traditionally a chocolate treat served in conjunction with the bride’s elaborate, hite, elegant white cloud of a cake, the groom’s cake is a small gift from the bride to her groom. The cake is typically shaped and decorated as a tribute to the groom and his personal interests and pursuits—think golf ball for a golfer, alma mater colors and symbols, or a Gibson for the guitarist groom.  It’s also a nice way to remember that, ahem, there is a groom on the premises, because it’s not all about the bride…is it? 


Sling drinks, Southern-style

It gets hot in the South in the summertime, and until the relatively recent arrival of air-conditioning over years, Southerners kept cool by way of porches, parasols, and potables.  You can’t have a Southern wedding without serving sweet tea (that’s sweetened iced tea for y’all not in the know), and there’s nothing more darling and charming than drinking a Coca-Cola from one of those old-fashioned Coke bottles (Coke is based in Atlanta).  If you’re looking for a more adult beverage, serve bourbon—or up the bourbon ante and make it a mint julep.

Taking your bridal portrait

With the influx of wedding photographers flooding the market, the idea of having your bridal portrait taken might seem new-fangled, but it’s actually an antebellum Southern tradition that still maintains a strong presence to this day.  Walk into the formal living room or parlor of any true Southern family and expect to see an oil portrait (or blown-up, oversized print) hanging over the mantelpiece—the lovely woman featured in the frame is none other than the daughter of those proud parents whose home you’re visiting.

Not only is the bridal portrait a beautiful memento of your days as a bride, but it’s also a nice, Southern touch to add to your reception when displayed on an easel.

Keep in mind that these are traditions that folks all throughout the South uphold, but there are some specific traditions to different states, such as the New Orleans cake-pull down in Louisiana, wearing cowboy boots in Texas, and serving Brunswick stew in small cups during Virginian cocktail hours.  You can be sure that you’ll bless everyone’s heart with these special Southern wedding details.


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